Craft Breweries Feel Affects of Shutdown

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COLUMBIA - One new craft brewery business in Columbia is being grounded before it had a chance to take off because of the U.S. federal government shutdown.

Logboat Brewing Company has not yet received its brewing license, required for selling brewed beer, from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau or TTB, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. 

"We submitted back in May. I think we were really close to licensing," said Logboat CEO Tyson Hunt. "We're kind of in entrepreneurial purgatory if there's such a thing."

The TTB regulates and collects taxes on items such as liquor, firearms, and tobacco. For breweries, the TTB must approve anything from beer recipes to can or bottle label design.

According to Hunt, the process to apply and receive a license to brew usually takes about four to five months. But with TTB employees on furlough, Hunt is just hoping for the best.

"We were looking to be in production by late December or early January which is still possible, hopefully, if things get worked and we can get to work. In the meantime we're just stuck, waiting."

Hunt and Logboat's co-founders Judson Ball and Andrew Sharp are still waiting for crews to finish construction work on their new brewery building. There is not any money for the company to lose yet. However, they expect to install their brewing equipment in late November, and they said if they can't start selling beer by then they'll lose out on revenue.

"You kind of always plan on delays whether it's construction, or financing, or licensing. We're not completely affected by it yet but if it lasts any longer, it could be brutal," said Ball.

The owners said more than just start up breweries are feeling the impact.

"For the people that have already started, getting seasonal release beers out is impossible because they can't get labels processed," Ball said.

"We're just hoping for the best here," said Hunt.